Fixing Instead of Finger-Pointing

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Around the Bend: Behaviors That Drive Your Coworkers Crazy

Around the Bend: Behaviors That Drive Your Coworkers Crazy by Laura Stack #productivity

"Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image."—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman. In recent months, I've conducted Q&A surveys via my Productivity Pro® newsletter, collecting the results using the SurveyMonkey app. If you're a reader, you've probably seen them; you may even have responded—thank you if you did! I've learned some interesting facts from my readers, most of which have direct application in any workplace. One of the first questions I asked my readers was, "What bugs the you-know-what out of you?" Given the wording, I expected some blunt answers, and that's what I got. Most respondents listed their greatest pet peeve only, but some listed several. They came down to three broad categories: Lack of Orga … [Read more...]

Yes Men, No Men: Dealing With the “Autonegatives” at Work

Yes Men, No Men: Dealing With the "Autonegatives" at Work by Laura Stack #productivity

Do you have a coworker who says "no" to your ideas before he or she has given them a decent hearing? For whatever reason, some individuals always have to say "no" before they can see clear to even considering something new. These “no men” (gender neutral) are more annoying and useless, at least in the short term, than “yes men”—and that's really saying something. I call them "autonegatives." These people love to criticize and tear down ideas before they’ve given them any real thought. Autonegatives live everywhere in life. Some may be masquerading as your friends or family. Sometimes you run into them in shops (though the smart manager doesn't leave them in place long). At work, the fiefdom builders and information hoarders tend to be autonegatives, some because they like the tiny thrill … [Read more...]

Getting Clarity in Workplace Communication

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro, talks about communication in the workplace. (C) 2015 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

That Sense of Belonging: A Teamwork Necessity

That Sense of Belonging: A Teamwork Necessity by Laura Stack

"A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people."-- Brené Brown, American author We all want to belong, whether it's as part of a marriage, a family, a social club, a political party, a community, a nation, or some combination of the above. The best workplace teams also provide a sense of belonging. Well-established work processes, mutual respect, a deep sense of familiarity, and a commitment to group decisions and actions can all contribute to greater productivity. Perhaps most importantly, productive teams develop and live by a series of team norms. These represent the "rules" all team members work under, based on group consensus. They don't have to be unanimous; but like most group decisions, everyone lives by them for the good of the whole. The Evolution … [Read more...]

The Teamwork Quandary: Deciding When It’s Necessary and When it’s Not

The Teamwork Quandary: Deciding When It's Necessary and When it's Not by Laura Stack

By the time we're in grade school, our teachers heavily emphasize the value of teamwork: "there's no ‘I’ in team," "play well with others," "class participation is part of your grade." And there's nothing wrong with any of that—childhood is rehearsal for life. Play and education are a kid's jobs, because these activities socialize us into our culture, help us learn how to handle other people, and teach us what adults expect of us as we mature. They also prepare us for the reality of working for a living, where few of us accomplish anything entirely alone. On the other hand, some cultures also urge us to be self-reliant, to pick up the slack where no one else will, to be our own people, to work hard for our own goals. The U.S., Britain, Australia, Denmark, and Holland are a few examples a … [Read more...]

Workplace Quality of Life: Making Yourself Happier on the Job

Workplace Quality of Life: Making Yourself Happier on the Job

One measure of true professionalism is your ability to maintain a high level of productivity no matter your emotional state. But few of us can master this completely; we're neither Vulcans nor secret agents. It might prove easier if would could easily separate how we feel about our job conditions and the people we work with from the work itself, but few of us can. It stands to reason that job happiness affects productivity. In fact, you know it does. Think about the last time you had to do something you didn't like, whether it was a workplace task or a household chore. Did you really give it your all, or did you just rush through it as fast as you could, cutting corners when possible, not caring much about the quality? I suspect we've all done this at work at some point, and the result … [Read more...]

Turning an Unproductive Day Around

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What If It’s You? How to Recognize If You’re a Productivity Killer

What If It's You? How to Recognize If You're a Productivity Killer by Laura Stack #productiviity

"A computer can be a useful and indispensable tool. But if we allow it to devour our time with vain, unproductive, and sometimes destructive pursuits, it becomes an entangling net." -- Joseph B. Wirthlin, American businessman and religious leader. Let me ask you a simple question: are you worth your pay? In other words, do you deliver the level of productivity your leader and team expect of you, or do you drag down team productivity like a lead anchor? I know it breaks the rules to assume MY readers are anything less than competent... but if your team's productivity has been flagging lately, consider the possibility that the problem is you. You may not mean to damage productivity; but sometimes, things beyond your control—or that you've let slide—can hamper the productivity level you … [Read more...]

Finding Your Personal Productivity Rhythm

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro, talks about finding your own rhythm for personal productivity. … [Read more...]